Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

5 stars
Reader's Choice nominee Feb- May 2015

Oh my.

Let me start by saying I don't know that this book actually deserves 5 stars, objectively.  I don't know that I would have given this book 5 stars at another point in my life.

But, as AJ knows, sometimes books come to us at exactly the right time.

Why is this exactly the right book at exactly the right time? I honestly don't even know.

Reading this didn't actually start out well.  I didn't like AJ.  I didn't like the supporting characters much more.  I didn't know that I cared much either way for what was going on.

So then, even as I was reading, I was thinking "Great.  This is going to be another review to write in the 'it's not you, it's me' vein" because I could tell I SHOULD be liking it.  I mean, it's a book about BOOKS.  What's not to love?

AJ.  AJ is what's not to love.

Let me say something else about AJ-- the AJ at the beginning of this book would have HATED being a cliche.

In the end, that's what this book is.  It's a cliche.  It's almost formulaic.  It's possibly even trite.

But you know what?  It's the right kind of cliche.

Because, as AJ learns, cliches are cliches for a reason and life is made up of a series of beautiful little cliches.

This is ultimately what I got from this book-- the beauty of the ordinary.  And the fact that I saw what was coming and felt a bit like "yeah... this story's been done before" felt intentional... it felt like part of the point.

Ultimately, for me, right now, this was a 5 star book.  In one word, I found it delightful.

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